Follow by Email

StatCounter

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Refrigeration revisited



Before we started out little sailing journey I looked over a lot of refrigeration options. None of them quite fit the bill. Power usage, price, quality, size and overall hassle factor were all considered. Finally my lovely wife suggested that we do without and just eat out more.

Overall, that pretty much worked out fine. When near civilization, we did eat out now and then. There was a small cooler on board, but it only kept food cool for a day or two. When we bought fresh food, we made sure to cook and eat it right off.

Some food items like apples and carrots lasted well enough without refrigeration.

It possible to eat healthy using canned and dried goods. However, I did wake up one morning dreaming about salads. When next we shopped I bought a big container of washed greens and ate them all up between dinner and breakfast. Yes, I even had salad greens for breakfast, while they were still fresh.

That being said, when we get back home I plan on ordering a good quality high efficiency marine grade portable refrigerator. So what's changed?

Well, for one thing, out house is now completely off grid. Having a high efficiency DC refrigerator for household use makes sense, especially when we can take it with us on the boat when we leave. After living without refrigeration, even a small marine unit will feel like luxury. Combined with a small basement root cellar, and eventually a spring house, it should be sufficient for day to day use. When we do have a lot of company, we could fire up the big conventional fridge for temporary use.

Marine refrigeration isn't cheap. When used only a few months a year, it's hard to justify the cost. However, since it'll be used both at home and on the boat, it's easier to spend the money.

Maybe I just want to have the occasional cold beer . . .

-Sixbears

14 comments:

  1. I don't know if Engel refrigerators are available in your neck of the woods.
    They're Australian, they are the very best as far as a lot of people/travellers are concerned. 12v or 24v. I've had a 35litre one that's been going 24 hours a day for 9 years. They are very mean on power consumption, mine uses a max of 2.5 amps per hour.
    The Engel has only one moving part.
    There are different size models available.
    One could be ideal for you...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have not heard of them. A little research is in order -thanks!

      Delete
    2. I forgot to mention that it is a top loading fridge.
      One of the advantages is of course that when you open the door, the cold air does not fall out as it does with conventional fridges. Upright refrigerators are in my opinion one of the most inefficient appliances ever invented. Open the door and the cold air falls out. Some folk consider it a hassle getting what you want out of a top loader and so it may take a few seconds more but everything sitting on top of other goodies adds to the efficiency of the top loader.
      There are many accessories too, one is a slider for the fridge to sit on and slide out to open and there's also a heavy duty bag that fits over the fridge protecting it from the sea spray or the desert dust and sand.
      I have no shares or financial interest in the company and their web address is www.engelaustralia.com.au and their email address is admin@engelaustralia.com.au

      Delete
    3. I found dealers in the US and I'm seriously looking at the different models.

      Thanks!

      Delete
  2. Where ya gonna put that 90 watts worth of solar panels on the boat lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On the arch I'll have to build . . . I guess.

      Delete
  3. Sixbears, You might check out a 12 volt thermoelectric cooler/fridge. I'm sure you could pick up a nice one at an auto parts store or truckstop for under $50.00. I was fairly impressed with a cheap little Peak that I got at Big Lot's for $20.00. I tested it out for cooling on a 12 volt battery and in about 30 minutes it was cool and in an hour it was cold. Ran it about 3 hours overall testing both warming and cooling and cooling worked the best. I was using an old 12 volt battery and the little cooler did not drain it in 3 hours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I own two. Their power usage is quite a bit higher than the compressor types and the temperatures less even.

      Works fine for camping -where I can connect the AC plug.

      Delete
  4. Refrigeration is a luxury that I WOULD hate to do without in anything less than an emergency.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We did without it on the boat. Many people never have it. It is one of the things we missed enough to try and figure out a fix for.

      Delete
  5. They do make portable ice chests that also plug into 12 volt dc systems to stay cool without ice. Would something like that work for you instead of a refrigerator?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Power usage is too high. I like that they are simple and cheap, but I'd need a lot more power generation.

      Delete
  6. Well you could always try a Zeer pot or a large burlap bag tossed over the side. Zeer pots work by evaporation

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope to experiment with those soon.

      Delete